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Archive for the ‘People in Georgia’ Category

An Oakland (Calif.) police officer works the scene of a homicide.

So, how many of you here in Georgia need feel the need to be able to buy several handguns as often as you want, you know, for hunting purposes? I can tell you how many times I’ve looked out my back door, saw a seven-point buck and brought it down with my Saturday Night Special.

It’s no big secret that Georgia is gun happy—this is a pending bill in the state House that would allowed to carry concealed weapons in bars, public schools, most government buildings, college campuses and places of worship; as you will remember from Sunday School, Jesus was really big supporter of the right to shoot the crap out of your enemies.

It is also true that Georgia is the gun purveyor to U.S. criminals, and has been so for several years. My friend and former SF State Journalism School classmate Cecily Burt put together a great piece for today’s Oakland Tribune about how lax gun laws in Georgia and other states lead to gun crimes across the country, especially California:

Follow the Guns: From Georgia to Bay Area Streets

On April 13, 2009, Crystal Erin Davis walked into the Cherokee Gun and Pawn shop on Knox Bridge Highway in Canton, Ga., and bought a Cobra Enterprises .38-caliber pistol, commonly known as a Saturday night special. She filled out paperwork that said the gun was hers.

“But in fact Davis bought the weapon—and, on other days, 20 others—for her boyfriend, Jeffrey Martin Colon-Moore, a Vallejo, Calif., native and ex-convict who could not legally buy guns from licensed dealers. He sold and shipped the firearms by overnight delivery to buyers in the Bay Area that spring.

“Those buyers, in turn, put the weapons in the wrong hands.

“About 15 of the 125 guns Moore’s crew bought from gun stores or gun shows have since been recovered by law enforcement. While none has been directly traced to a killing, they’ve been taken from parolees after car chases, from juveniles after a robbery and from a car searched after a fatal shooting at a San Francisco nightclub.

“The story of those guns—which emerges from a federal trafficking case—provides a rare view of the ways criminals get firearms, and just how easy it can be. It also helps explain why, when Oakland police seize an average of 1,200 to 1,500 firearms every year, there is a steady supply to replace them.

“ ‘It is definitely frustrating,’ said Sgt. Nishant Joshi, head of the Oakland Police Department’s Gangs/Guns Intelligence Task Force. ‘A lot of guns come from out of state, a lot of straw purchases. Guns are not manufactured in Oakland. There’s no big warehouse in Oakland where you go in and buy what you want.’

“Instead, there are a variety of black-market sellers, receiving guns from states with less stringent gun laws. In California and many other states, buyers undergo background checks and a waiting period before they can take home a gun. But in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada—some of the biggest sources of illegal guns in California—there is no waiting period. Those states also allow person-to-person sales without paperwork.”

Great work, Cecily. The absurd gun laws—pending and existing—in Georgia need to be changed, but the odds of that happening in this redder than red state is just about nil. There’s no talking sense to some folks.

University of Georgia’s star tailback Isaiah Crowell was arrested last night on weapons charges. Bulldog fans are unsettled.

In a related incident, many folks in the state are up in arms today because a 19-year-old was on arrested on charges of possessing a concealed weapon, having a weapon in a school zone and having an altered ID mark on that weapon (the serial number was scratched off). Half the state is ready to throw the book at this young man while the other half is rushing to his defense. What makes this one college sophomore’s fate so riveting to so many people? Maybe it’s because he’s the University of Georgia’s star tailback Isaiah Crowell.

BREAKING NEW:

According to sports talk radio and the Atlanta Journal-Consitution, Georgia head football coach Mark Richt has had enough of the talented but pain-in-the-ass Crowell and booted him off the team.

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Ron “Tater Salad” White

Boy, some people just can’t take a joke. And some others can’t tell when a joke is appropriate. And together, they end up writing new jokes for comedians.

It seems that a high school principal in Columbus, Ga., is in hot water because he played a clip of comedian Ron White’s (he of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, with Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall) “You Can’t Fix Stupid” routine at a faculty meeting. Now, who knows what point Columbus High School Principal Marvin Crumbs was trying to make when showing the clip—maybe to buck up some of his teachers who must feel like Sisyphus, trying to roll those dumb-as-rock students up the steep hill of education—but he must have also known that the bit makes a detailed reference to breasts, and there was bound to be at least one fussy, can’t-take-a-dirty-joke type in the room who would rat him out as soon as the meeting was finished.

You can see where this is going, right? Someone was, indeed, offended; the school district administration was called; and Muscogee County School District Superintendent Susan Andrews got involved, reassigning Crumbs. The students of Columbus High are outraged at the transfer and have started protests and a petition drive to get their beloved principal back.

Of course, this has only been a comedic gold mine for White, who says he is going to incorporate the controversy into his act. Oh, and he’s headed to Columbus to do a show on April 28. Guess what he’s going to be talking about? The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer asked and White was happy to answer:

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That will be my whole show. I’m going to get involved with it,” White said. “It teaches me something about the people in charge of that school system, and I think I need to bring out the fact that they magically made my point for me, that you can’t fix stupid . . .”

“To fire the man and humiliate him is great fodder for comedy.  . . . I mean, here you’ve got a man with a doctorate who wants to be a principal. You’ve got kids defending him who want him to be their principal. Who else wants this job?”

If you have never heard of Ron White or heard his “You Can’t fix Stupid” routine, here it is. You decide which of those involved made a bad decision:
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OK, so did anybody else notice the huge typo on the court signage on the NCAA National Championship game last night? An advertisement for next year’s Final Four—which will be held in Atlanta—was missing a letter. This is especially galling to denizens of Atlanta, who like to call their city “The ATL.” When you take the T out, they are left with AL, which is much the abbreviation for Alabama, which they certainly don’t appreciate.

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Did anybody else notice the huge typo on the court signage on the NCAA National Championship game last night?

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Now, mistakes will be made, and I have certainly made my share, but come on, folks… you’re supposed to be better than that…

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According to the N.Y. Times’ The Caucus blog, former Georgia representative and current GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is going to campaign this weekend in that hotbed of national politics and critical primary state . . . wait for it . . . Hawaii.

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Mr. Gingrich’s presidential schedule shows him campaigning in Hawaii on Saturday and Monday, thousands of miles—and a big ocean—away from Iowa and New Hampshire. . . . Mr. Gingrich’s official campaign schedule says that he will “join the Maui G.O.P. for a meeting with local activists at the Door of Faith Church” on Saturday. On Monday, he will “discuss the American founding with the students at Seabury Hall preparatory school” in Makawao, also on Maui.

Hmmm . . . everyone else running for the Republican nomination is in Iowa or South Carolina or New Hampshire—you know, king-maker states vital to a winning campaign. But not old Newt. Nope, seeing as how his campaign is going nowhere on the Mainland, he’s going to be looking for votes while he’s looking for sea shells on the beaches of Maui.

For some reason, this image came to mind:
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President Richard Nixon was never a kick-up-your-heels-kinda guy anyway. Which probably explained his preference for sturdy, no-nonsense, GOP establishment-style footwear—even for a walk along the beach.

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And if old Newtie decided to loosen up, the lucky citizens of Maui can look forward to this.
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OK, so I didn’t realize until I moved to Georgia just how nuts people in the South are for college football. Coming from the Bay Area, Cal and Stanford occasionally had good teams, but I can’t say I ever paid attention to them. But on any fall Saturday in Georgia, you’ll see people showing their college colors on T-shirts, hats, magnetic car decals, radio antenna pennants, house flags, etc. In the South, one is born into a family collegiate alliance and seldom does one switch allegiances.

If your team wins on Saturday, you’re happy all week. If it loses, you’re in a profound funk until kickoff next week. Incidents of domestic violence spike when the good ol’ alma mater loses.

So given these facts, people will do just about anything to get tickets to these games. That’s why the Lee County (Ala.) Sherriff’s Department nabbed nearly a dozen people suspected of unpaid child support using their college football habit as the bait. In Operation: Iron Snare in Opelika, the suspects were sent a letter saying they won two tickets to the Iron Bowl, the Auburn-Alabama rivalry game this year. All they had to do was show up with the letter and a photo ID. This video from the Opelika-Auburn News website shows it all going sideways for these deadbeat fans.

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The migrant workers who usually pick the crops in Georgia have left, due to a new state law. Consequently, there’s no one to harvest the crops and they are rotting in the fields.

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OK, so here in Georgia, millions of dollars of produce are rotting in the fields because state politicians stuck their noses into the immigration debate. A month ago, the state House and Senate passed, and Gov. Nathan Deal signed, House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia. Now state officials are scrambling because it seems that the bill ended up driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.

Now there’s a labor shortage, and fields bugling with blueberries, onions, melons and other crops are going unharvested. This could end up devastating the state economy, as agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry.

A columnist in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about the state government mucking around with immigration policy:

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Barely a month ago, you might recall, Gov. Nathan Deal welcomed the TV cameras into his office as he proudly signed HB 87 into law. Two weeks later, with farmers howling, a scrambling Deal ordered a hasty investigation into the impact of the law he had just signed, as if all this had come as quite a surprise to him. . .

The pain this is causing is real. People are going to lose their crops, and in some cases their farms. The small-town businesses that supply those farms with goods and services are going to suffer as well. For economically embattled rural Georgia, this could be a major blow . . .

We’re going to reap what we have sown, even if the farmers can’t.”

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The patio at the Park Tavern at the edge of Piedmont Park in Atlanta.

Hello friends, did you go to the Dogwood Festival last weekend? Johanna and I went on Saturday and had a blast, checking out the art, listening to some great music and having a wonderful dinner, which, of course, has now been turned into a restaurant review for the travel web site UpTake.com:

OK, so on Saturday, Johanna and I learned a couple of things while attending the 75th annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park: First, that Blair Crimmins & the Hookers is an insanely fun band; and second, I’m going to be spending a lot of time at the Park Tavern. The Park Tavern likes to bill itself as “your neighborhood sushi bar & brewery,” which just about hits all the high points, as far as I’m concerned. But before we get to the dinner, let’s backup and recount the day.

Saturday turned out to be a beautiful, if windy, day for the festival, which combines an artists market, festival food stands and live entertainment on several stages. Having already strolled through and viewed the art, and having grabbed some grub, we settled down at the main stage.

Lefty Williams, lead guitar player.

A festival-goer getting her chakra right.

A festival-goer is moved by the music

Young lovers enjoying the show.

Now, if you’re like me, free festivals in big-city parks means some of the best people-watching you can ever hope for. In just a few minutes after laying out a blanket and settling in to listen to the band on stage—The Lefty Williams Band, a sort of Southern Rock quartet that really did rock (and Lefty himself was a revelation)—we were treated to some prime people watching. People dancing, people walking by, people simply sitting… it was all stunning, really.

But when the next band, Crimmins and a six-piece Dixieland-Ragtime-Rock-N-Roll combo, came on, things really started hopping. Crimmins, who was dressed for the part of a ’20s- or ’30s-style musician (think Warren Beatty from “Bonnie & Clyde,” but with a blond mop of hair, performing in a sort of Tom Waits meets the Preservation Hall Jazz Band way), soon had more than 1,000 festival goers tapping their feet and singing along. Some talented (and some not-so-talented) dancers got up to swing right in front of the stage. .

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The hour they were on stage flew by, and we found ourselves hungry again. But not wanting to go back for festival food, we walked across the park to the Park Tavern, which was doing a hopping business with other festival goers. We put our name in and got a couple of drinks and waited our turn, which didn’t take all that long at all.

To read the whole Park Tavern review, click here.

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